SERVING GENERATIONS: Dr. Keith Funderburk is physician with longest Chilton County career

Published 4:35 pm Monday, March 13, 2023

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Editor’s note: This article originally published in the February 2023 edition of  “Chilton County Wellness.” Copies are available at The Clanton Advertiser, 1109 Seventh Street N in Clanton . 



Generations of Chilton County residents have seen Dr. Keith Funderburk of Chilton Medical Associates for their medical needs.

Funderburk began his career as a physician in 1979, working in an emergency room. He entered family medicine private practice the following year. He continued to work in the local emergency room until the old hospital closed. (A few years later Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton opened in Clanton to serve Chilton County residents.)

In those early days of the practice, he saw patients as young as two weeks old. Today, his youngest patient is usually 5 or 6 years old.

Through the years, Funderburk has enjoyed getting to know his patients and being able to help them.

Funderburk is in the office three days a week, seeing about 25 patients a day.

“Some of the patients I have known for 35 to 40 years, so I don’t have to look up things,” Funderburk said. “I know the patients.”

Over the years, he has also become friends with these patients.

Funderburk said he is not sure why patients have chosen him as their doctor through the decades, but he did say each doctor in town has their own style.

In some cases, Funderburk has been a family’s doctor for three or four generations. Many of his patients have Medicare or Medicaid as their insurance.

Funderburk said he chose family medicine because “I knew I was going to a small town, and I thought it’d be more beneficial.” He wound up choosing Chilton County because of a friend in medical school who was from Thorsby.

A major change and challenge in his long career has been dealing with insurance companies. The amount of paperwork and the time spent on it has increased.

“(Now,) they determine a patient’s pharmacies,” Funderburk said. “They limit some of the X-rays that we can do.”

There are also additional steps and extra paperwork for some aspects of care.

“Some of the changes have been good in some ways, but a lot of times we have patients that it is just hard to manage because of insurance,” Funderburk said.

Medicare can also be a bit complex.

“We have a lot of new medicines, but a lot of the Medicare plans want you to use generics, and the newer medicines are not generics,” Funderburk said.

He commented that there are some new medicines that get approved for Medicare, but these can be cost prohibitive for a patient.

Another big change has been the digitization of medical records. Funderburk said he began the transition to digital records in 2010.

He said this has also helped get patients prescriptions filled quicker.

Continuing education requirements are also something that has changed for Funderburk over the years.

“I have to get 50 hours a year of continuing education,” Funderburk said.

Technology has made reaching the requirement easier.

“There are things we can do online,” Funderburk said. “I do questions once a quarter and that helps some, then some of the continuing improvement things we do in the office (count).”

Even though he has had a long successful career, retirement is not on the horizon just yet for Funderburk. He has cut back to three days a week, and other doctors have joined the practice. Funderburk said his staff will be the one’s to tell him when the timing is right to retire.